A classic Southern Potato Salad, just like Grandma used to make; this easy old-fashioned side-dish is creamy, tangy deliciousness. And, it’s full of crunchy dill pickles, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, and must-have hard-boiled eggs!
This recipe was my mom’s and the one that I have made most of my life. I do have to admit that I have never tasted a potato salad I didn’t like, but this remains my favorite.
What is southern potato salad:
When I think of southern-style food, fried chicken and potato salad immediately come to mind. I can’t imagine going to a potluck supper, a backyard cookout or holiday get together without a big bowl of potato salad and fried chicken front and center.
Just like fried chicken, there are probably as many recipes for potato salad in the south as there are picnics or holidays. Each one has a little more of this ingredient and a little less of that. But this old-fashioned recipe with its quintessential creamy texture is the best and my family’s favorite!
Most potato salad recipes in the south call for good old yellow prepared mustard and this recipe is no exception. No dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and for goodness sakes no Miracle Whip.
Why you will love this recipe:
- I share my secret ingredient, dill pickle juice, which ramps up the flavor and sets it apart.
- It’s quick and easy and comes together in minutes, after boiling the potatoes.
- It can be made ahead and is even better on the second day.
Sweet or dill pickles:
There is much a debate between potato salad aficionados between which is best, sweet or dill pickles? I’m in the dill pickle camp, but I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish. It’s just a matter of taste. I also like to use hamburger dill pickles instead of kosher dill pickles.
What kind of potatoes are best:
Russet potatoes with their starchy creaminess are the best. You can also use Yukon Gold and New or Red Potatoes, but the flavor and texture will be a little different.
I always peel Russet potatoes, but rarely peel Yukon Gold and New or Red Potatoes because the peels are thinner.
What’s in it:
How to make it:
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, add two teaspoons of kosher salt and the cut-up potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and boil for approximately 10 minutes.
Generally, it will take about ten minutes to cook potatoes. Depending on the size of the potato cubes, it may take a minute or so more or less. The potatoes are cooked when you can take a cube and mash with a fork with little resistance. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
Pour the cooked potatoes back into the dry pan and use a potato masher to mash them three to four times. This step makes a creamy potato salad and ensures that the potatoes soak up even more of the delicious dressing.
While the potatoes are cooking, combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the cooked potatoes and fold in.
Garnish with a dash of paprika.
Cover it tightly and refrigerate. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
How long can it sit out:
This is a common question because it is served so often at picnics and potlucks; the simple answer is two hours max. However, use your best judgment; if it is very hot, it shouldn’t sit out for over one hour.
If you are short on time, you can purchase eggs that have been boiled and peeled at the grocery store.
Instead of shaking paprika from the jar onto your dish, it works much better to just put a small amount of it in your hand. Then, take a pinch and sprinkle evenly on top. You can always add more if you think it needs it.
You can make this recipe several days ahead, and it tastes even better the second day.
Leftovers should last in your fridge tightly covered for up to five days. Do not try to freeze them.
I’ve included onions in this recipe; if your family doesn’t like them, leave them out.
Be sure to make the dressing and have it ready before your potatoes are done. Hot potatoes absorb the dressing and flavors more easily.
If you have trouble peeling hard-boiled eggs, check out my post: Perfect Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs.
Looking for more southern recipes:
Check out these delicious favorites:
- Easy Southern Fresh Peach Bread
- Southern Pecan Praline Cake
- Old-Fashioned Southern Cornbread
- Southern Pink Lady Peas
- Southern Fresh White Acre Peas
- The Best Southern Fried Chicken
- Easy Southern Fried Green Tomatoes
- Southern-Style Baked Mac and Cheese
- Southern Squash Casserole
- Easy Homemade Creamed Corn
Need more? Click on this link for even more recipes and menu ideas Southern Recipes.
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Easy Southern Potato Salad Recipe
- 3 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cubed (About 7-8 medium size potatoes)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup hamburger dill pickles chopped
- 2 Tbsp hamburger dill pickle juice
- 1/2 cup Vidalia or sweet yellow onion finely minced or grated
- 1 cup mayonnaise preferably Dukes or Hellman's
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- dash paprika for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the potato cubes and cook for approximately 10 minutes. The potatoes are cooked when you can take a piece of potato and mash with a fork with little resistance. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
- Pour the drained and cooked potatoes back in the pan and use a potato masher to mash them 3-4 times. This step makes your potato salad even creamier and ensures that the potatoes soak up more of the mayonnaise mixture.
- While the potatoes are cooking, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, onion, pickles, pickle juice, hard-boiled eggs, and salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the cooked potatoes and fold in.
- Garnish with a dash of paprika.
- Refrigerate and serve chilled. Enjoy!
*This recipe was originally published on May 25, 2016. Republished on April 26, 2020, with new pictures, expanded directions, and the addition of helpful tips.